Judge Slaps Aereo With Injunction

Marking another victory for major U.S. broadcasters and another setback for Aereo, a U.S. District Judge in the Southern New York region on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction barring Aereo from retransmitting live TV.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan enjoins Aereo’s live TV distribution system, which relied on arrays of small digital antennas, but did not extend to Aereo’s network DVR and general video time-shifting.

Aereo, the ruling stated, is enjoined from "streaming, transmitting, retransmitting, or otherwise publicly performing any Copyrighted Program over the Internet (through websites such as aereo.com), or by means of any device or process throughout the United States of America, while the Copyrighted Programming is still being broadcast."

“We are reviewing the decision and evaluating our options moving forward,” Aereo spokeswoman Virginia Lam said, in a statement.

"Yet again the courts vindicate Fox's position that you can’t get away with stealing our content," said a Fox spokesman.

Aereo shut down its service in June – labeling it as “just a pause” – after The Supreme Court ruled that Aereo's delivery of TV station signals to subscribers without paying a copyright fee violates the law, a decision that reversed and remanded a Second Circuit Court of Appeals refusal to block the service while the underlying case was argued in a lower court.

Aereo has since argued that the SCOTUS ruling enabled it to obtain a compulsory license and obtain cable operator status, but Judge Nathan wrote that the High Court did not imply, much less hold, that simply because an entity performs publicly in much the same way as a CATV system, it is necessarily a cable system entitled to a compulsory license.”

Aereo has recently been keen on an FCC Media Bureau proposal that would define some over-the-top video providers, such as Aereo, as MVPDs.